Patti Thurston and Brad Shields with the Shuswap Family Resource Centre sit in the teen gift room where parents in need come to choose gifts for their children. Although donations have been strong for babies and young children, more are needed for youth. - Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer

Generosity alive and well

Salmon Arm helps out organizations but donations still needed

Generosity in Salmon Arm has not diminished this year, at least for some community agencies.

At the Shuswap Family Resource and Referral Centre, donations to the Family to Family Christmas Campaign have been flowing in, with gifts for adolescents and teens the main area lacking.

“It’s not going bad,” said executive director Patti Thurston. “Of course we need more items for the youth, that’s always our big struggle.”

Gift cards, movie passes, skating passes and Silverbacks tickets are some of the items needed.

As time is running short, donations would be appreciated sooner than later.

During the campaign, people who wish to donate take a tag off one of the trees in both malls in Salmon Arm, as well as in the SASCU offices in Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Sorrento. Each tag describes the age and gender of a child in need. Unwrapped gifts can be taken to the family resource centre, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or to mall administration offices for pick-up.

“Usually about 700 children receive gifts. That’s been quite consistent for the seven years since I’ve been executive director,” she says.

Parents come in and pick out their gifts on Dec. 19, 20 and 21, although some last-minute choosing will likely take place on the 22nd. If parents wish, “they can stay and wrap, and have some cookies.”

Thurston says the economy was really tight her first year in Salmon Arm, as were donations, but she’s seen a steady increase. It’s become a tradition for many parents to take their children to buy gifts for another family.

“As always we have great gratitude for all the generosity of people stopping by and giving so much,” she says.

The family resource centre can be reached at 250-832-2170.

Related link: Food bank sees increasing demand

Related link: Need for food bank in Salmon Arm keeps rising

Over at the Second Harvest food bank, generosity is also alive and well.

“Donations are decent, they’re holding,” says coordinator Diana Mangold. “The amount of people coming in I don’t think has increased, but the needs of the people I think are increasing. Their expenses are getting more and more but the money isn’t getting more and more. People who are on disability and pensions, their expenses are going up and up, their rents are going up and up…”

Second Harvest has been doing dry soups that can feed a family of four. They include items such as beans, beef soup mix and dried vegetables.

Items always needed as they run out quickly are canned soups, pastas such as spaghetti or macaroni noodles, and macaroni and cheese.

Second Harvest is open Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with volunteers arriving at 3, and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. with volunteers arriving at 10 a.m.

If you’d like to call regarding a donation, the phone number is 250-833-4011.

“We’d like to thank them as always, it’s just the community that keeps us going,” says Mangold. “That’s where all this wonderful help comes from, caring businesses and people in the community.”

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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